A creative fruit salad that combines savory acini de pepe pasta, sweet fruit, and a creamy fruit juice custard. A unique treat for all parties or holidays!

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Frog Eye Salad! A creative fruit salad that combines savory acini de pepe pasta, sweet fruit, and a creamy fruit juice custard. A unique treat for all parties or holidays! | HomemadeHooplah.com

About Frog Eye Salad

Ever since I started this little food blog, a lot of my conversations with friends start out with something like this:

“Oooh, I know what you could make!”

“You know what you should make?”

“I have this great recipe you should make!”

And quite honestly, I love all of this. Before I started Homemade Hooplah, I always felt like an outsider whenever the topic of cooking or favorite recipes came up, as if my “superb” skill at boiling water was no match for their ability to create a perfectly homemade lasagna from memory (which, okay, let’s be real here – that does beat boiling water by an astronomically big margin).

But now that I have my cooking sea legs under me, I love talking about food. I love learning new ways to make it. I love finding new dishes I never knew existed before.

And that, my friends, is exactly how I stumbled across Frog Eye Salad.

I got the original recipe for this salad from a friend who had moved to another state a few years ago. I’m sure if we were still close by, the topic of this unique treat would have already come up, but as they say, it’s far too easy for our relationships to fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” with time and distance. And, also, if she were still living in sunny Phoenix, I doubt she ever would have stumbled across this salad. As I understand it, frog eye salad is more of a midwestern / Pacific coast treat, so usually, only the locals know about it.

How to make authentic frog eye salad.

So on one fateful day, my friend was preparing to make this recipe and it made her think of this little food blog. She sent me a photo of the printed recipe, and I had to give her credit – the ingredients were certainly interesting. In fact, this was easily the most unique recipe any of my friends have followed up a “You know what you should make?” question with.

I absolutely loved the idea of pairing sweet and creamy ingredients with pasta, so of course I was going to try it.

I put it on my recipe to-do list and I had every intention of making it in June.

But then July came. Then August.

When September began to loom in the distance, I finally put my foot down. I had to make this recipe.

And now that I have a big, wonderful batch of it in my fridge, I really don’t know why I waited so long.

It’s as awesome as I imagined it would be.

Acini de pepe salad recipe.

Now, I had to Google the name of the recipe, since the printout my friend had didn’t include a name, and the closest I could find was “Frog Eye Salad” – uses all the same ingredients, just slightly different proportions. And even when I made it, I made some adjustments to my tastes and those that would tailor to the ingredients I had on hand.

And even still, it turned out amazing.

How to make frog eye salad with acini de pepe.

I think this is typically seen as a summer salad – because really, what fruit salad isn’t a summer salad? – but at the same time, with a name like Frog Eye Salad, I think it’d be perfect for a kid’s party or for even Halloween.

I mean, how can a salad with a name like this not be a hit with all your friends? Their curiosity of the dish alone will win them over!

What is frog eye salad?

This recipe comes in a couple different forms, but no matter the variety, there’s always three main parts:

  • Acini de pepe pasta
  • Various types of citrus fruit, usually from a can
  • A homemade custard made of fruit juice

How long is frog eye salad good for?

This salad has a custard base, and most custards will remain fresh in the refrigerator (in a sealed container – very important!) for three to four days.

Can frog eye salad be frozen?

Yes, frog eye salad can be frozen, but I can’t recommend it. The taste and texture will change so much after freezing that it almost ruins the salad.

For best results, refrigerate this acini de pepe salad and enjoy it while you can.

Notes & tips for frog eye salad

  • To make the pineapple custard in this recipe, you’ll need a candy thermometer to ensure the eggs reach the correct temperature. I know these thermometers can be a little clumsy to use, especially in a recipe like this that requires a lot of whisking, but as they say – better safe than sorry! The pineapple custard will be so much better if it has the chance to reach the right temperature, too.
  • Like the serving dish that’s used in the photos? You can pick one up here: Large Footed Trifle Bowl.
  • Interesting fact! The friend that tipped me off to this recipe currently lives in Oregon, but from what I’ve read, frog eye salad originated in Utah, especially among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But no matter where you live, this fun take on a fruit salad will always be a deliciously unique addition to any get-together! A couple of my friends here in Arizona have already requested it the next time we have a movie night.

More great salad recipes

Easy frog eye salad recipe.

Recipe Details

Frog Eye Salad! A creative fruit salad that combines savory acini de pepe pasta, sweet fruit, and a creamy fruit juice custard. A unique treat for all parties or holidays! | HomemadeHooplah.com
4.49 from 39 votes

Frog Eye Salad

20 mins prep + 10 mins cook
337 kcal
Yields: 11 cups
A creative fruit salad that combines savory acini de pepe pasta, sweet fruit, and a creamy fruit juice custard. A unique treat for all parties or holidays!



  • Prepare acini de pepe per package instructions. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • Drain mandarin oranges thoroughly; discard juice and place mandarin oranges in a 13 quart mixing bowl. Drain and pineapple chunks thoroughly and save 1 3/4 cup of the pineapple juice; discard the rest of the juice. Add about 2/3 of the pineapple chunks to the bowl with the mandarin oranges and set the bowl aside. Reserve the 1/3 of the pineapple chunks for the next step.
  • Add 1/3 of the pineapple chunks to a food processor and blend until shredded. If shredded pineapple seems juicy, use a fine mesh strainer and remove excess juice. Add shredded pineapple to the bowl with the mandarin oranges and pineapple chunks and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, add 1 3/4 cup pineapple juice and granulated sugar, then whisk until sugar has dissolved. Add beaten eggs and flour to saucepan and then slowly begin to heat mixture up to 170 degrees F, whisking constantly. For best results, use a candy thermometer to ensure the temperature is reached. Custard should be creamy (but not too thick) once ready. Depending on your cooktop, this process should take anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Remove pineapple custard from heat and let cool completely. TIP: To cool faster, transfer pineapple custard to a new bowl and set in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Once all of the above steps are created and cooled, pour the acini de pepe and pineapple custard into the bowl with the fruit and gently mix together.
  • Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (or ideally overnight).
  • When ready to serve, add cool whip to bowl with pasta and fruit and stir until combined.
  • Serve frog eye salad immediately with shredded coconut and/or mini marshmallows as garnish (optional).


Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 34mg | Potassium: 289mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 46g | Vitamin A: 575IU | Vitamin C: 27.6mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 1.7mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I'm not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy

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Recipe Rating


    • Jackie

    Question on your Frog eye salad. You said to use a candy thermometer when cooking the custard sauce but what temperature should it be at? Does the thermometer say for a custard temp?

    • Hey Jackie! For the temp, it should be heated to about 170 degrees F.

    • Stina Goucher

    This is extra fun when you add a FEW drops of green food coloring in before putting this in the fridge overnight. After all what color are frogs? The tiny pasta is so cute as the ‘eyes’.

    • Den

    I”ve made this in past and it was always a hit. I use 2 cans of the crushed pineapple (so no need to blend up chunks of it) and 2 cans of the oranges. When draining the fruits, save the juice from the oranges to make sure you have enough of the juice for the custard (we like a bit of extra custard so I make just a little extra without having to add extra eggs or flour usually).

    We like it with the colored mini marshmellows. I also use extra cool whip because the pasta will soak up some of the cool whip and it can become “dry”. So I make sure I have extra to mix in the next day.
    If you like coconut, add a handful or so into the salad.

    • KRisti
    • 5 stars

    OH, my grandma used to make this salad for Easter Brunch. What a wonderful memory you rekindled with this post. I’m going to make it for my family this Easter to carry on the tradition. 🙂

    • Barbara
    • 5 stars

    I love this salad! I use both crushed and chunk pineapple . I also use 2 cans Mandarin oranges along with 2 cans of fruit cocktail. I make a large match and I eat it all by myself…I live alone. It keeps for at least a week. It does get a little juicy toward the end but it is still good.

    • Hungry

    The recipe sounds great but the name is a little off putting. Can we come up with a less icky name for this?

    • Alicia

    Finally a frog eyed recipe that is pretty close to my family one! We use fruit cocktail instead of mandarin oranges and colored mini marshmallows to add more color!

    • Joan Bia

    I love this recipe my family nominates
    me to bring this salad every Thanksgiving and Christmas they love it

    • Zoya
    • 5 stars

    I’ve been making this for years. It’s both delicious & refreshing. My family prefers this over ambrosia salad.

    • Ginny

    I’ve made this for 40 years. The pasta is called Acini de Pepe. In my local grocery, it’s in a box on a shelf above the bagged pastas. The actual pasta is very small. I stopped using Cool Whip and cut the sweetness by using just the custard. I use canned pineapple, one crushed and one chunks. And one large can of Mandarin oranges. The sweetness comes from shredded, sweetened coconut stirred into the salad. This way, the Frog Eye salad retains its original structure without being overly sweet. We eat it at any meal, including breakfast. It’s super good.

    • Olive

    sounds good

    • Susan Clark

    I’ve been looking around at all the different versions of this salad. It’s always been a Thanksgiving/Christmas thing in our family.

    • Carol
    • 1 star

    I’ve never heard of this. Sorry but doesn’t sound good. It’s the pasta in it, yuck.

      • Denyse
      • 5 stars

      This dessert pasta salad is so delightful! Give it a try you’ll be glad you did and so will everyone you share it with!

        • Pauline E Lacovara

        This is the best. If you didn’t know it had pasta would you have tried it? Anyone I’ve offered it to has loved it

      • Qwz
      • 5 stars

      Denyse, leaving a star rating without having no ever made it? ….. really?
      I’ve used this recipe a coupe times and love it! THanks for your post! The only change I made was sometimes I add maraschino cherries. It adds a lot of color.

      • Qwz

      Carol, leaving a star rating without having no ever made it? ….. really? Shame on you.
      I’ve used this recipe a coupe times and love it! THanks for your post! The only change I made was sometimes I add maraschino cherries. It adds a lot of color.

      • Anjela
      • 5 stars

      What a stupid comment.

      • Karen Schneider

      why leave a rating if you have never tried it?

      • Robin Toporek

      It’s by far the best summer salad ever the pasta is for texture and you won’t really taste it

      • Darla Jaramillo

      I have been eating/making this salad for years, have never had anyone not love it. You can add colored marshmallows for a fun look and I always use mixed fruit with extra cherries. With regard to the “concern” that it is a pasta based salad, what do you think is in tapioca?